the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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happy boy farms needs your help!

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For over 20 years, the good people at Happy Boy Farms have been providing delicious organic produce to loyal customers throughout Northern California and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Now more than ever, though, they need your help as unfortunately it is possible to have too much of a good thing:

Last year at this time, we prayed for rain, as we had experienced significant crop failure due to years of drought. This winter, we got what we prayed for, and it has rained, and rained, and rained, resulting in flooding that has caused catastrophic damage to our farm.  While we know the risk of farming fresh, organic produce looms large, this winter season has hit us harder than any of our 25 years growing organically. A thirty foot river of water swept away our tractor while wiping  out over 100 acres of crops ready for harvest.  Meanwhile, the flooding has prevented us from accessing 80 acres of our fields to plant for the upcoming spring crops.  In all, over 1/2 of our productive land is inaccessible. Furthermore, several large electric motors that power our wells have been ruined by flood waters. Now more than ever, the generosity of our dedicated customer base will help to determine the future of our farm.

There’s a Go Fund Me campaign set up to help out this wonderful farm in their time of need. Feel free to donate large or small and please help spread the word by sharing this post and the following link:

https://www.gofundme.com/happyboyfarms


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the true story of a farm turned cult

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Helen Zuman, long-time Greenhorns-follower and contributor to New Farmers Almanac, has an agricultural story to tell that is as gripping as it is disquieting– and she’s asking for help getting it published.

Helen writes, “The action unfolds on a farm in the backwoods of Western North Carolina – Zendik Farm, which, I discovered after being kicked out, was actually a cult. The story features an urge to homestead (part of what sent me hunting for a place like Zendik in the first place), firewood, wheelbarrows, snuffling bucks, outhouses, de-nailing, wild persimmons, abundant intrigue – and a glimpse of the detours aspiring agrarians were perhaps more likely to take back in the late 90s, when the beginning-farmer scene was nowhere near as robust as it is today.”

An intimate journey through the full arc of cult involvement, MATING IN CAPTIVITY shows how Zuman joined Zendik, learned its mating rituals, endured exile, and – finally – mated in the wild.

Helen has launched a thirty-day kickstarted campaign to fund the book, and rewards include advance access to the paperback, a reading (with Q&A) at a venue of your choice, and a handwritten copy of the manuscript. The campaign ends April 10.


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an alternative route to farm financing

 

photo credit – Don Graham

Recently a friend of mine ran a pretty successful crowdfunding campaign to help secure a startup loan for her and her partners farm. I had heard of Kiva before (socially focused micro loans) but this was the first time I actually checked the organization out.

Crowd-sourcing has it’s detractors. For a while there it seemed like kickstarter was set to be the worlds largest purveyors of ‘knick-knacks with a purpose’. But given barriers to finance, they actually can be useful tools. It takes town and a community to grow food and it makes sense to have communities and people directly invested in the success of farms and businesses in their regions.

Kiva has a fairly simple concept and for folks that want to go around traditional forms of debt, ie banks, this could be another option. The part of this organization that makes the most sense is that there is 0% interest. Even though I am not a financial specialist, I can state pretty unequivocally that’s a pretty good percent rate for interest! It’s also a unique way to get community buy in for your farm without having to secure 1000 individual small contributions (and the paperwork and legalities that would entail).

Other social, agriculture, and community related crowd financing platforms exist as well. The slow money movement’s Beetcoin is a good example.

So, if you have been looking into different financing to help get things off the ground take a second to look into this organizations and some of the other successful small farms that have used the tool for funding their projects.

you can check Kiva’s site here


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supporting black and brown farmers: NC’s earthseed land cooperative is doing beautiful transformative work in their community, and they need our help

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It’s Tuesday, and we bet that you could use your daily dose of inspiration from people doing beautiful things in the spirit of hope and transformation. It’s another day, and we have another rad collective farm for you– and for this one, we are calling on the Greenhorns community to help amplify and support the voices and work of people of color who are doing incredible work in food justice, community building, and the resistance of oppression.

Introducing Earthseed Land Cooperative! A “transformational response to oppression and collective heartbreak: a model of community resilience through cooperative ownership of land and resources,” created by a visionary group of “black and brown parents, activists, artists, educators, business owners, farmers, and researchers, who came together to remember our relationships to land, to livelihood and to each other.”

The Cooperative is committed to centering the voices of people of color and other traditionally marginalized communities. They grow food with the intention of increasing access to fresh produce, offer classes and youth programs, and offer a retreat and sanctuary space for activists and artists. In their own words, “Our work is to support our members, our compañerxs in resistance, and our broader communities: to grow food, to grow jobs, to grow movements, to grow spirit and mind; to hold ceremony, to hold our differences, and to hold our common liberation.”

I’m sorry, I just can’t write any more without a firm and capitalized, HECK YES.

And now, to the point: Earthseed Land Cooperative has recently found a new home for their Tierra Negra Farms in 48 acres of pasture and woods in North Durham, NC., and they need help to get their programming and farming firmly rooted in this new ground. 

THE CAMPAIGN
Earthseed Land Cooperative just launched a fundraising campaign to transform their barn into a community gathering space! Our plan is to start by raising $30K in 30 days
Learn more here, donate to the campaign, and consider becoming a sustaining supporter of their radical efforts.
Don’t have money to give, there are more ways to help!

AMPLIFY: Give them some love on Facebook, send out an email with our campaign info, tell your friends and family!

CONNECT: Build a bridge to people/organizations who should know about the work that we do? Share our project with your people who want to see Black and Brown folks in the South reclaiming land for our common liberation with the blessing of Indigenous community and our ancestors.


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farm hack needs you! help fun the patriot weeder!

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In the grand tradition and the innovative spirit of Farm Hack, Lu Yoder is embarking on an engineering adventure to respond to the lack of  effective, versatile, adaptive, and cheap weeding systems for smaller-scale farms. The goal is to produce an open-source mechanical weeder that can be easily replicated with common materials and scaled up or down depending on each individual farmer’s needs. Hypothetically, this could be mounted on a tractor, walking tractor, or bicycle-powered cultivator.

On the project’s gofundme.com page, you can find more detailed information and a breakdown of costs. They are trying to raise $7,500 in the next month, which, we want to point out, is very little compared to the possible savings for farms across the country. Come on Greenhorns community! We can do this!

For more information on Farmhack in general, check out the website!

 

 


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woman power: home to cameroon’s sustainable farming movement

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Check out Woman Power, an organization started by Cameroon locals Victor (above) and Betty Kubia.

NW Cameroon is a particularly hardworking agricultural region where 90% of the farmers are women and revolution is in the air.

In this region, a culture of chemical farming (imposed during the green revolution) has created a longstanding degenerative cycle for soil health and the nutritional quality of vegetables. As it stands, many women are obligated after so many years to purchase expensive, synthetic products to even get a yield. As one woman from the town of Bafut in NW Cameroon says: “the harvest I get is not enough to pay for the fertilizers and then feed my family of seven and also pay tuition and buy school materials for my children.”

The Kubia’s seek to build the Woman Power Training Center on their own land just outside of Bamenda City strategically close to the three villages of Bafut, Ndu, and Santa. Here nearly 600 women will have access to hands-on workshops on soil health, composting, crop rotation, cover cropping, fallow cultivation as well as many traditional methods. One such method is forming the crescent moon shaped beds that are ideal for handling some 400″ of rain per month during the rainy season.

If you are interested in being a supporting member of this project you have two options!

  1. You may email Andrew at wpcameroon@gmail.com to join their emailing campaign
  2. You may click HERE to learn more about Woman Power and then Donate at least $10 to support building a Woman Power Training Center for alternative agriculture.


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wanted: donations for educating the next generation of farmers

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Heading into a third year of providing educational programs, the good folks at the Grange School of Adaptive Agriculture have been busy training the next generation of farmers:

The Grange School’s programs recognize that food production must continually adapt to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The students in our three-month residential program are determined and creative people, with a desire to acquire essential skills for a career in food production. We believe there is no silver bullet to addressing the food crisis facing our world, so we teach a broad spectrum of sustainable agricultural theory. We also give our students hands-on classwork and practical experience in skills as diverse as small engine repair, carpentry, animal husbandry, soil and ecology, crop production, entrepreneurial skills, and much, much more.

If you have the means, they could use your help! They’re looking for donations to help build infrastructure at their beautiful ranch/campus in California’s Mendocino County. Feel free to donate, large or small, to their crowdfunding campaign HERE.